Amy Mills is up to her elbows … in chocolate. For her third year participating, the Executive Pastry Chef of The Greenbrier Sporting Club is once again providing the piece de resistance of the Lewisburg Chocolate Festival — a spectacular chocolate sculpture for display at Harmony Ridge Gallery.
“This year, we’re getting all dressed up,” said the dessert expert, meaning dressed up two ways, with the culinary crew donning custom Paint the Town Chocolate shirts and in putting the finishing touches on the white chocolate dress form she, pastry chef Maria England and the team will fashion from 70 pounds of chocolate.
Amy’s Fashion Dream sculpture, conceptualized on paper from an idea submitted by Harmony Ridge Gallery owner Aaron Maxwell, begins with a white chocolate dress form, decorated with bright pink, red, blue and green spring flowers. Chef Amy pairs the form with the perfect chocolate accessories — high-heeled shoes, sandals, purses and a belt.
In keeping with the wearable art Harmony Ridge Gallery boasts as part of its American artisan inventory, Amy is also creating a line of chocolate jewelry including rings, necklaces and earrings to finish the edible vignette. Every element is made of white, milk & dark chocolate, modeling chocolate and chocolate fondant. Embellishments abound on the intricate piece, including edible rhinestones and sugar flowers.
Like a food television challenge minus the atomic clock, time constraints are only as rigorous as they can be for contributors who aren’t quitting their day jobs. Still, preparing for the wildly popular chocolate festival and each location’s part to play in producing and doling out in excess of 30,000 tastings has proven daunting.
In addition to the sculpture, Chef Amy and her crew will assemble 2,000 chocolate delicacies for sampling at Harmony Ridge, divided between two inspirations: Belgian Chocolate Tarte with Blood Orange Caramel & Chocolate Ganache and Milk Chocolate covered Cheesecake Bites Dipped in Toasted Oreo Crumbs.